March 05, 2010 04:52:11pm
Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire
The "decline" is a fair question, and you'll get a million different opinions. For what it's worth, here's my perspective.
My first show was in 1979. I took in exactly one Keith and Donna show (1/11/79) and after that everything I saw live was Brent era and beyond.
My last attended show was 1994 in Vermont.
My feeling is, I WISH i could have seen shows in what I truly feel was the Dead's single greatest year of 1977. That being said, I saw many outstanding shows between '79 and '94 and had a great time at each and every one.
BUT: In an objective assessment, I believe the band's major decline ocurred after 1990 and right up til the bitter end. Jerry's vocals started declining post 1978, but the band did pick up a new energy w.Brent especially in the years 1979-1983. There are spot gems from '84-88 but you gotta look hard for 'em.
There was a major resurgence and re-commitment to musical excellence in 1989 (check out the Alpine Valley run in July) and again in 1990 w/the Branford shows. It's also fair to say that after Brent's death some of the Hornsby shows were quite inspired.
The period of '92-'95 IMO, was absolute trash. The band was playing to support friends and family and the shows themselves, evidenced mostly by Garcia's shot vocals and un-inspired playing, were obligatory money-gigs, nothing more.
So that's my take. Bottom line: I don't regret attending a single show I ever saw and all I can say is "Thank you for a real good time."
This post was modified by grendelschoice on 2010-03-06 00:52:11